CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — All great filmmakers have those early works where you can see the evolution of their vision and style. One local animator is making waves in film with something she created for school.
"It took a while before it became this fast to draw the characters," said Claire Layne, sketching out a character. "I wanted to do something that wasn't traditionally cartoon-y looking."
Classic storytelling introduces a character, an obstacle, and a destination of some kind. There's even been a journey that's led Claire to know the exact pen strokes to bring her characters to life.
"I just love stories that are historically based, maybe with a little fantasy," she said.
Claire's story begins in rural Henry County where she grew up. As a child, the beauty of everything surrounding her, she could only see as a blur.
"I couldn't see the world around me having a really severe astigmatism," Claire said.
With her need to see things close-up, she developed a love of drawing. She created beauty. She also developed a love of something else she could see close-up, animated films. In particular, she loved Disney's "Tangled."
"I went to see it in theaters, and I was just spellbound," said Claire.
She thought then, wouldn't it be something to make a film?
Claire was part of the initial class at a new art department building at Austin Peay State University. Characters she'd created as a storyboard for class became the center of a film for her senior thesis. Then, 2020 and COVID hit.
"We were told after spring break not to come back because it wasn't safe," Claire remembered.
Claire took this time to make her film.
"My short film is called 'Sagiso', and it is a two-dimensional animated short film I did entirely on my own during the COVID pandemic," Claire said. "It's about a young Japanese girl, and she has this mysterious spirit follow her home. It's a short story based on my love of folk tales. The message of the story is finding the wonder in the ordinary. If you're encountering something strange and unknown, try to approach it with an open mind instead of fear."
Claire's film has just been accepted in 18 film festivals.
"The most current one is called Grand OFF in Warsaw, Poland," she said. "It's one of 55 films selected out of 4,100 submissions. It means the world to get that kind of support. That's all you can ask for as an artist, you have an audience, that people see what you're creating."
The journey for Claire so far is overcoming her obstacle, finding inspiration, and creating something that ends with this: a film by Claire Layne.
Claire also thanks a Middle Tennessee teacher for helping her get to this point. She credits Gene Snowden of the Paris Academy for the Arts in Paris, Tennessee for helping nurture her love of art.